Power Poll Time!!!
32. Tennessee Titans 0-6 (24)
No team employing 6 2008-2009 Pro Bowlers coached by Jeff Fisher should ever, EVER lose by 59 points. Hell, no team employing Derek Anderson, Mike Furrey, and Jamal Lewis coached by Eric Mangini should ever lose by 59 points (and God bless them, they never will). I think Tennessee would beat any of the next 7 teams on a neutral field, but would I bet on it? Hell no. There's just no guarantee they're going to show up. It is shocking how quickly Fisher, widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, lost this team. Now he's going to get fired because of his (well-founded) unwillingness to play Vince Young, and the Hall-of_Fame stable of available coaches will add yet another superstar*.
*The other superstar coaches out there are: Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, and Marty Schottenheimer. I think Schottenheimer, Holmgren, and Dungy will all stay retired (at least for one more year), Shanahan will end up in Washington (no coach has ever relied on free agents as much as Shanahan did in Denver, so Daniel Snyder would make a perfect match), Cowher will replace John Fox in Carolina (Cowher lives in the Charlotte area), Gruden will head to the college ranks, and Fisher will take a year off. The Browns, meanwhile, will be stuck with another year of Mangenius.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31)
At some point, don't the Bucs just have to admit they're not winning anything this year and see what Josh Freeman can do? It's already obvious what Josh Johnson is capable of (running around ineffectively, ala Tyler Thigpen), and, more importantly, incapable of (winning games).
30. St. Louis Rams 0-6 (32)
The Rams still came up losers, but at least they tried. With the teams this far down the rankings, effort counts just as much as the final score.
29. Washington Redskins 2-4 (26)
The recent moves by the Redskins--stripping Jim Zorn of his play-calling duties, benching Jason Campbell--are the equivalent of spending the last 3 hours of your workday creating a spreadsheet comprised entirely of numerical ratings of 1980s pro wrestlers. Just as you are merely appearing busy in case your boss pops into your cubicle, the Redskins are merely appeasing their fan base without actually making any meaningful changes.
28. Cleveland Browns 1-5 (28)
For the 12th time in a row, the Browns lost to the Steelers, even after Pittsburgh turned the ball over on 3 straight plays (the first 2 of which were followed by Browns turnovers) in the 3rd quarter with the score only 24-14 (and it should have only been 21-14, except the refs somehow called a first down on a Pittsburgh 4th down measurement that was at least 4 inches short at the end of the first half that led to a Steelers field goal). Derek Anderson was again not very good, and even the best thing in Orange and White on the field--Josh Cribbs--threw a costly interception deep in Pittsburgh territory. Hopefully this ends any of the talk about putting Cribbs at quarterback.
27. Kansas City Chiefs 1-5 (30)
Matt Cassel failed to throw a touchdown pass, which isn't surprising, since every minute of the Chiefs' 14-6 win over Washington was meaningful.
26. Oakland Raiders 2-4 (29)
I couldn't find video of JaMarcus Russell's sick spin move vs. the Eagles, but the :45 mark of this video is a pretty close approximation.
25. Detroit Lions 1-5 (25)
If I ever write that a quarterback is a bad player on a bad team who will still put up sneaky decent fantasy numbers (ala Byron Leftwich, Seneca Wallace, and Duante Culpepper), stay far, far away from them the following week. The week after I wrote about Leftwich, he lost his job to Josh Johnson. The week after I praised Wallace, Matt Hasselbeck came back. And after I praised Culpepper last week, he shit himself in Lambeau, putting up an impressive 6-14, 48 yard, 1 INT, 0 TD stat line before leaving with a hamstring injury in the 3rd quarter (although that did lead to a Drew Stanton sighting, which for some reason always excites me.)
24. Buffalo Bills 2-4 (28)
Dick Jauron staves off the unemployment line for at least one more week by following up last week's ugly, ugly loss to the Browns with an ugly, ugly win over the Jets.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-3 (22)
Whenever you need overtime to beat the Rams, you will automatically drop in the Power Poll Rankings.
22. Seattle Seahawks 2-4 (19)
So much for Matt Hasselbeck's value (as well as the Qwest Field mojo, which is right up there with the lack of online video of JaMarcus Russell's spin move as my biggest disappointments of the 2009 season thus far).
21. Carolina Panthers 2-3 (23)
The Panthers finally found the formula for success: give the ball to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart as much as possible (47 carries between them) while limiting the amount of passes Jake Delhomme throws (17, although he still managed to throw 2 interceptions).
20. New York Jets 3-3 (17)
Following their week 3 win over Tennessee, the Jets looked for real. As time has shown, the Jets (and especially the Titans) are as real as Falcon Heene's balloon ride.
19. Dallas Cowboys 3-2 (20)
Do you think Jerry Jones fires up some porno on those massive screens at Texas Stadium? How scary would that be? And which is the scarier thought, 180-feet by 50-feet high definition double penetration or Jerry Jones watching porn?
18. San Diego Chargers 2-3 (13)
The Chargers should be sending gift baskets to Kerry Collins and Jeff Fisher, because if the Titans weren't so horrendously-God awful, San Diego would be considered the biggest underachievers of the season so far.
17. Houston Texans 3-3 (21)
Lock it up right now: the Texans will lose at home to the 49ers this upcoming Sunday, most likely after surrendering a big early lead and then falling just short in their frantic second half comeback attempt.
16. Arizona Cardinals 3-3 (18)
When these NFC West teams beat each other, it feels like it should only count as half a win.
15. Miami Dolphins 2-3 (16)
14. San Francisco 49ers 3-2 (15)
13. Philadelphia Eagles 3-2 (10)
Four days after I pick them to win the Super Bowl, the Eagles lose to the Raiders. Donvan McNabb looked like he genuinely hated his team, and with the way his offensive line protected him (6 sacks allowed, McNabb was hit 8 times), I can't blame him. You'd think that with such shoddy pass protection, Andy Reid may have wanted to run the ball more than 14 times. I hope this is just one of the Eagles' annual play-like-shit games (think the tie with Cincinnati last year, or I'm going to be looking pretty foolish come January when the Eagles are sitting at home.
12. Baltimore Ravens 3-3 (11)
Impressive: Coming back from a 27-10 4th quarter deficit to take the lead. Troubling: Falling behind 27-10. Heartbreaking: Losing when you're kicker sails a kick wide left, even though he's kicking indoors.
11. Chicago Bears 3-2 (8)
After watching a bit of Chicago's Sunday night loss in Atlanta, I have to say I'm siding with my buddy Russ in his assertion that Jay Cutler is quite terrible. His arm is amazing (if you can find it anywhere, check out his effortless fling to Johnny Knox in the corner of the end zone from 23 yards out), but he trusts it far too much, often forcing the ball into places even Brett Favre at his most batshit insane wouldn't dare try.
10. Green Bay Packers 3-2 (14)
I don't know why, but I just feel like the Packers are a mirage. They'll most likely be 4-2 this time next week, but I still won't be convinced (unless they beat the Browns by 59 on Sunday, in which case the Packers would have made a liar out of me twice, which in my book is cause for a duel).
9. Cincinnati Bengals 4-2 (5)
And so the slow decline back to mediocrity begins for the Bengals, as NFL sacks leader Antwan Odom is out for the year with an Achilles rupture, and the Texans exposed weaknesses in the Cincy defense that other teams will be scheming to expose. Now's the time we find out just how good of a coach Marvin Lewis is (and previous experience tells us he's middling at best).
8. Atlanta Falcons 4-1 (12)
I hate to say it, but the Falcons and Matt Ryan are quite good. Of course, I may have just been amazed by how Ryan actually got Atlanta into the correct offense and then made the correct throw after spending four hours watching Derek Anderson refuse to audible in the face of an obvious Steelers blitz and then make throw after throw that Jerry Rice himself would struggle to haul in.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-2 (9)
The Steelers continue to have turnover problems (4 vs. Cleveland), but it hardly seemed to matter against the hapless Browns. Even with the shortened possessions, Ben Roethlisberger and company still managed to amass 543 total yards of offense.
6. New England Patriots 4-2 (7)
A 59-point win is impressive regardless of the opponent, but when Tom Brady has time to wait for Randy Moss to run nearly the entire width of the end zone to get open, it is painfully obvious that the Titans may not be giving their full effort. The Patriots have definitely regrouped following the loss in Denver, but it is still a little premature to declare this 2007 all over again.
5. New York Giants 5-1 (1)
Drew Brees made the Giants' secondary look amateur, while the 3rd consecutive David Carr sighting almost made blood come out of my eyes.
4. Denver Broncos 6-0 (6)
The Broncos won about the only way they hadn't yet (carried by special teams), edging out the Chargers in the battle of kick returns. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Josh McDaniels somehow willed his team to victory during the bye week.
3. Minnesota Vikings 6-0 (3)
I've always seen the stats, and the crazy throws, and the "he's just having fun out there" plays, but I've never truly appreciated how amazingly accurate Brett Favre is until this season. That bomb to Sidney Rice that pretty much won the Vikings the game was as pinpoint accurate as you could hope. I can't even make throws like that in Madden, and I'm a beast at Madden (as my good friend Chad will tell you all about).
2. Indianapolis Colts 5-0 (2)
I saw Peyton Manning taking in the Texas-Oklahoma game, and even on the sidelines he was determined-looking and pointing and barking to the entourage around him. I don't know if he was trying to fool the UT cheerleaders into twirling his way or what, but it was definitely weird.
1. New Orleans Saints 5-0 (3)
Thanks a lot, Drew Brees, for turning what should have been one of the marquee matchups of the week into a blowout surpassed in wow factor only by New England's beatdown of Tennessee. Next week Brees will try to outdo Peyton Manning's performance against Miami by throwing for 400 yards and 5 TDs with only 5 minutes of possession.